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Chapter 14

PSY 2012 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Jean Piaget, Prenatal Development, Toilet Training

Course Code
PSY 2012
Charles Negy

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Chapter 14 – Developmental Psychology
Developmental Psychology is a subfield of Psychology from which a vast amount of
information about humans’ development has been produced.
Prenatal Development:
Prenatal developmental is divided into three periods:
oGerminal stage – Period when the zygote is wandering throughout the uterus
prior to implanting itself in the uterus wall.
oEmbryonic stage – Begins when implantation occurs and lasts until about the
eighth week of development. Major body organ systems begin to differentiate.
oFetal stage – Begins at the third month and lasts until birth. By end of third
month all major organ systems have been formed and the sex of the fetus can be
determined visually.
Cognitive Development:
Jean Piaget – Swiss psychologist who was fascinated by how children’s ability to think
and process information changed and improved as they matured.
He outlined 4 cognitive stages through he believed all humans passed, primarily as a
result of maturation.
Assimilation – simply learning new ideas and information
Accommodate – Child will have to modify his or her preexisting knowledge based of new
knowledge they receive.
Sensory Motor Stage (birth to age 1 ½)
oInfants at this age experience the world through their basic senses, primarily
through sucking and grasping. Essentially, much of their behavior is simply a
result of reflexes.
oObject permanence – having the understanding that objects are no longer within
view continue to exist.
Preoperational Stage (1 ½ to 6 years)
oAt this stage, children are not ready yet to use logic and rules for solving
problems. Nonetheless, they begin internalizing mental symbols for objects and
oEgocentrism – when one thinks the world revolves around him or her.
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oAnimistic – they attribute life to inanimate objects.
Concrete Operational Stage (age 6 to early adolescence)
oChildren begin to think more logically. Also, their thinking increasingly is based
on reality.
oConservation tasks - a logical thinking ability which, according to the psychologist
Jean Piaget, is not present in children during the preoperational stage of their
Formal Operational Stage (adolescence to adulthood)
oAt this stage, Piaget believed people are capable of thinking hypothetically. That
is, they are able to think in an abstract mode. People can think about problems
or ideas and not have to literally see the problem in front of them.
Overview of Piaget’s Theory
Prior to Piaget, it was presumed by many people that our ability to think improves as we
grow from children into adults primarily because we acquire more knowledge with each
passing year.
Piaget believed that each stage comprising his theory was a distinct and that individuals
sort of “jumped” from one stage to the next when maturation called for it.
Many adults are unable to appreciate hypothetical situations unless they actually
experience the situations firsthand.
Psychosocial Development:
Erik Erikson – a neo-freudian that thought Freud placed too much emphasis on the sex
drive and had failed to acknowledge the social context in which human development
Psychosocial stages of development:
Trust vs. Mistrust (birth to age 1)
oIf an infant is cared for adequately by her parents, the infant develops a
fundamental sense of trust because the infant feels that she can rely on the
world to meet her needs.
oIf the infant is frequently neglected, endures hunger, and/or is rarely held and
cuddled, then the infant might develop a fundamental feeling of mistrust; this
infant does not feel secure about the world’s ability to satisfy her needs.
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (ages 1 to 2)
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